Tell The EPA: Don’t Relax Protections From Cancer-Causing Coal Ash

Action alert from Iowa Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)

Question: What would be worse than over 100 toxic coal ash storage sites lying in high-risk flood zones?

Answer: Loosening the laws that protect our health and communities from contamination by those sites.

Alarmingly, that’s exactly what the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing, even as climate change is increasing the risk for intense flooding.1

Tell the EPA not to relax federal regulations on coal ash storage sites.

Coal ash is the toxic byproduct of coal-burning power plants. It contains chemicals known to cause cancer, neurological damage and heart problems.2

The EPA wants to roll back regulations on coal ash storage sites — a decision which will increase the risk of toxic ash contaminating nearby water sources — despite the fact that more than a hundred coal ash sites exist in high-risk flood zones.3,4

Coal ash spills due to flooding have caused billions of dollars in damage, have been linked to cancer and other diseases in workers who clean them up, and pose an imminent threat to public health.5,6,7

Tell the EPA: Toxic waste requires robust oversight, not deregulation.

Under Obama-era protections, utility companies are required to monitor groundwater near their coal ash deposits for pollution, and to act in cases of contamination. Sites in high-risk flood zones require companies to take extra measures to stop seepage into groundwater.

The EPA’s new rules, however, will allow states to disregard certain cleanup requirements, exclude some contaminants from pollution programs, and discontinue groundwater monitoring. They will also no longer require companies to prove they have the funds to perform cleanups and may make citizen lawsuits more difficult.8

Add your name to urge the EPA to stop this ill-advised rollback.

Your voice can help keep our communities safe from toxic coal ash spills.

David Rossini
Acting Director

1. Zack Colman, “The toxic waste threat that climate change is making worse,” Politico, August 26, 2019.
2. Zack Colman, “The toxic waste threat that climate change is making worse,” Politico, August 26, 2019.
3. Gideon Weissman, John Rumpler, “Accidents Waiting to Happen: Coal Ash Ponds Put Our Waterways at Risk,” Environment America Research & Policy Center, April 30, 2018
4. Zack Colman, “The toxic waste threat that climate change is making worse,” Politico, August 26, 2019.
5. “Coal Ash Ponds in the Path of Hurricane Florence,” Frontier Group, September 2018.
6. Zack Colman, “The toxic waste threat that climate change is making worse,” Politico, August 26, 2019.
7. Gideon Weissman, John Rumpler, “Accidents Waiting to Happen: Coal Ash Ponds Put Our Waterways at Risk,” Environment America Research & Policy Center, April 30, 2018
8. Zack Colman, “The toxic waste threat that climate change is making worse,” Politico, August 26, 2019.

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